Never Nod in Agreement

by Dual Income No Kids on February 3, 2008 · 0 comments

After my travels in Southeast Asia I thought I’d give a couple of tips on negotiation.

My number one tip is never to nod, say uhuh, or agree if you don’t fully understand what you are agreeing to. It is very, very easy to want to be nice and nod if you don’t have a clue of what is being said. This of course works both ways, as those you are negotiating with may very well want to nod and agree with what you are saying, when they haven’t a clue of what you are saying either.

If you can’t sort out numbers, resort to writing it down or using a calculator to discuss the price. The best negotiation I had in Thailand was with a very nice deaf man who was a skilled negotiator but gave me a good price and made the sale.

Make sure your taxi driver knows where they are going before you agree to go with them or agree on a price. They are prone to nodding and agreeing that they know where the place is, even if they haven’t the slightest inkling.

Here’s a good example of what not to do: Heading to a business meeting in Bangkok the other day, my taxi driver and I didn’t exactly reach agreement. My first taxi driver didn’t know where the place was. The second driver assured me that he knew where it was, but then had to stop four places along the way to ask for directions. His taxi was metered, but with it broken he wanted to charge me four times the price it should have been. He was sure that I had agree on this price before getting in the car, but considering I didn’t understand much of what he was saying, this certainly wasn’t a mutual agreement. I left him with the fair taxi rate and went off to my meeting.

Negotiation is an art, particularly with language barriers, not knowing the price of things, etc. It’s no wonder that tourists get screwed just about everywhere in the world. In the end it all becomes part of the adventure.

Happy Haggling!


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